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The 10 Biggest Problems With Modern Day Cinema - Page 3

post #61 of 206
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Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

Yes, but that generelly just assure the big blockbuster budget for the movie. An indiefilm could create more with less. You often dont need 30 minutes of cgi monsters, 20 minutes of explosions and 15 minutes of city mayhem.

Remember, this is a discussion of what gets a mass audience into the theater. It's rarely any type of indie film. Once in a great while, sure, there'll be one that does very well, but that's not what studios bank on.

To get the mass audience these days, you either need an Avatar type film (something so groundbreaking it can't be ignored), or get a tentpole property, (like a comic book or hyper best selling novel like Harry Potter.) Avatar type films are rare enough (remember Cameron spent ten years on it.) But there's always a novel, a graphic novel, a comic book, a video game, or an old movie that you can throw a lot of money at for the rights and have your next blockbuster (and admittedly a lot of duds, but enough hits to keep going.)

Do some indie films succeed wildly? Sure. Will a studio ever exclusively fund them to stay in business? Hell no. You can't predict whether they'll do good or not. Heck, even when they are excellent, indie films often have limited box office because mass audiences would rather go see giant robots or sparkle vampires.

William Goldman wrote that "no one knows anything." What he meant (and this is from his book) is that you never know how well a movie will do until it opens. It could be the best all time movie, but it could still bomb, because the audience is fickle and what they like is too complicated to assess. With tentpole movies, studios feel they have a fighting chance. With an indie film, it's considered too risky. Even if the executives like the film, they're not going to attempt to release it until the tentpole movies have brought in enough that they feel they're on safe enough financial ground. If the indie film does well, that's just gravy.

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Even in a big budget movie like Jaws, its often the low cost scenes that are most effective.

Yeah, but Jaws was back in the day before the blockbuster (and was considered the film that invented the term.) That was a different time, and if it were released today, I don't think it would have the same overall box office impact. I'm sure it would be popular, even hailed as a masterpiece of horror, but today's blockbusters cater to a different crowd.

Sure, the low cost scenes are effective, but that's more a "wow them while they're in there" effect rather than a "get them into the theater" effect.
post #62 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Yeah, but Jaws was back in the day before the blockbuster (and was considered the film that invented the term.) That was a different time, and if it were released today, I don't think it would have the same overall box office impact. I'm sure it would be popular, even hailed as a masterpiece of horror, but today's blockbusters cater to a different crowd.

If Jaws were made today, it would be a terrible movie. It wouldnt have a quality script, quality actors, quality director.

What it maybe would have is a quality composer.

What it would have is good lighting, good sound effects and a crappy CGI shark.
post #63 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

If Jaws were made today, it would be a terrible movie. It wouldnt have a quality script, quality actors, quality director.

No, what I meant was if you magically transported Spielberg and his cast and crew to today, had him film it the same way (roughly) and had him release Jaws today, it would probably do as well as most indie movies, but probably wouldn't do as well as the tentpole movies. The nature of movie audiences today are very different.
post #64 of 206
A low budget indie horror/monster movie:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post20946495
post #65 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

If Jaws were made today, it would be a terrible movie. It wouldnt have a quality script, quality actors, quality director.

What it maybe would have is a quality composer.

What it would have is good lighting, good sound effects and a crappy CGI shark.

MICHAEL BAY's

JAWS




post #66 of 206
Needs more gratuitous Megan Fox midriff shots.
post #67 of 206
Needs more explosions.
post #68 of 206
post #69 of 206
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William Goldman wrote that "no one knows anything." What he meant (and this is from his book) is that you never know how well a movie will do until it opens.

The entertainment business is always a crap shoot. These young MBAs trying to run the studios are trying to figure out how not to make it a crap shoot. Good luck on that. About the only thing they could do to prevent that is to have Congress mandate that every American must attend x number of movies in a theater a year but let's not give them any ideas.
post #70 of 206
Any business is a crap shoot when you get down to it, but entertainment especially so due to everyone having a wide variety of tastes.

And enough dopey pictures make money that making a good picture is no guarantee of box office return. Although it might ease your conscience.
post #71 of 206
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Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post

Just... all the classic iconic action films of the 80's... LETHAL WEAPON, 48 HOURS, BEVERLY HILLS COP, COMMANDO, RAMBO, DIE HARD.

They all would have been PG-13 were they made today. Every single one of those films would have been downgraded and raped of their adult material and they would have been lackluster as a result. All we need do is look at LIVE FREE DIE HARD to know this.

Most of those movies were terrible even given their r rating. I think we got a bunch of grumpy old men in this thread.
post #72 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post


Yeah, but Jaws was back in the day before the blockbuster (and was considered the film that invented the term.) That was a different time, and if it were released today, I don't think it would have the same overall box office impact. I'm sure it would be popular, even hailed as a masterpiece of horror, but today's blockbusters cater to a different crowd.

Sure, the low cost scenes are effective, but that's more a "wow them while they're in there" effect rather than a "get them into the theater" effect.

I saw jaws for the first time this decade and it was awesome even with its age. It would have been a popular movie if released today.
post #73 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

The entertainment business is always a crap shoot. These young MBAs trying to run the studios are trying to figure out how not to make it a crap shoot. Good luck on that. About the only thing they could do to prevent that is to have Congress mandate that every American must attend x number of movies in a theater a year but let's not give them any ideas.

Who exactly is charged with "running a studio?" Which job titles would you include?
post #74 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Any business is a crap shoot when you get down to it, but entertainment especially so due to everyone having a wide variety of tastes.

And enough dopey pictures make money that making a good picture is no guarantee of box office return. Although it might ease your conscience.

I think you will find that making movies is less of a "crap shoot" then most understand. First and foremost is that a movie makes the least amount of money at the BO. The lions share of a movie's revenue comes from the home video market and licensing the movie to networks and cable stations.

They really have to screw the pooch for a film not to turn a profit at some point in it's life. LOL - though of course with Hollywood's "creative accounting" movies never make any money.
post #75 of 206
Jaws was a super successful novel. It was released in Feb. 1974 and stayed on the best seller list for 44 weeks.

In June of 1975, Jaws the movie was released.

IMO - this is what leads to a successful movie that is based on a successful novel - . releasing it shortly after the book is published. "Strike while the iron is hot" would be the applicable expression.
post #76 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

I think you will find that making movies is less of a "crap shoot" then most understand. First and foremost is that a movie makes the least amount of money at the BO. The lions share of a movie's revenue comes from the home video market and licensing the movie to networks and cable stations.

I know that, but the initial box office is what usually fuels the other subsidiary markets, largely because of the anticipation built up from a healthy box office also spurs on those who never go to the theater to "look forward to renting it when it comes out." Most films that tank at the box office don't do well on video or initial on demand TV runs, either. You can see it in the marketing. Box office bombs usually have a quiet release on DVD/BD compared to those that were hits at the box office. And if the movie finally makes the money back on TV syndication, the damage the initial box office bombing is already done.

Sure, a few become cult classics and do well long after it left theaters, but those are comparatively rare, and studios certainly don't count on them.

If box office returns weren't important, they wouldn't bother with theaters and just release everything to the home market.
post #77 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

I know that, but the initial box office is what usually fuels the other subsidiary markets, largely because of the anticipation built up from a healthy box office also spurs on those who never go to the theater to "look forward to renting it when it comes out." Most films that tank at the box office don't do well on video or initial on demand TV runs, either. You can see it in the marketing. Box office bombs usually have a quiet release on DVD/BD compared to those that were hits at the box office. And if the movie finally makes the money back on TV syndication, the damage the initial box office bombing is already done.

Sure, a few become cult classics and do well long after it left theaters, but those are comparatively rare, and studios certainly don't count on them.

If box office returns weren't important, they wouldn't bother with theaters and just release everything to the home market.

BO returns are important. They are used to offset all the expenses associated with making the movie and the payback comes quickly - just a matter of days. But they rarely ever fully cover all the expenses.

IMO - more movies make money then don't. There are many more successes then there are BO Bombs. Those are as rare as the over $400M USA BO movie.

So this feeling of "a crap shoot" . . . inherent risk . . . is nowheres near what most people think it is.
post #78 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

IMO - more movies make money then don't. There are many more successes then there are BO Bombs. Those are as rare as the over $400M USA BO movie.

Most movies eventually make money, but the industry today is geared toward that first year... often the first months... to make the majority of their operating expenses count.

Yes, they do get the money from the movies they released years ago, too. But the main focus is on the here and now.

Quote:
So this feeling of "a crap shoot" . . . inherent risk . . . is nowheres near what most people think it is.

A bomb is unlikely to sink a studio (although that has happened... Heaven's Gate, anyone?) But it can be just as big a risk as an Edsel or a Merkur or New Coke. The studio itself can emerge relatively intact, but a lot of the people involved can lose their shirts. Especially since a movie is often the product of a studio and a lot of smaller production companies that literally live and die from film to film. In no way do they sit back and say, "eh, we'll earn it all back in a few years." They bite their nails all through opening weekend to see come Monday if people still return their calls.
post #79 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I saw jaws for the first time this decade and it was awesome even with its age. It would have been a popular movie if released today.

No doubt it would be popular, but I don't think it would be the blockbuster equivalent that it was in 1975. Remember, it was the biggest movie of all time (until Star Wars came out two years later.) It would have to be Avatar-level today to have the same impact.
post #80 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Most movies eventually make money, but the industry today is geared toward that first year... often the first months... to make the majority of their operating expenses count.

Are you including international BO revenue also?

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Yes, they do get the money from the movies they released years ago, too. But the main focus is on the here and now.

Except they make more money from their "yesteryear" movies then they make releasing something tomorrow. The last number I saw for licensing fees gleaned by studios from "networks" was approx $16B. Over $6B more then the total USA BO revenue which studios have to split with theaters. They don't split their licensing fees with anyone for money that matters. Pennies are given away in the process, not dollars. Another huge market is the over seas licensing for television deals - long after the movie has left the theaters and even the home video market.

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A bomb is unlikely to sink a studio (although that has happened... Heaven's Gate, anyone?) But it can be just as big a risk as an Edsel or a Merkur or New Coke. The studio itself can emerge relatively intact, but a lot of the people involved can lose their shirts. Especially since a movie is often the product of a studio and a lot of smaller production companies that literally live and die from film to film. In no way do they sit back and say, "eh, we'll earn it all back in a few years." They bite their nails all through opening weekend to see come Monday if people still return their calls.

I thought we were discussing major studio releases - not the studios acting as a distributor for an indie production.
post #81 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Are you including international BO revenue also?

Sure, but those are just as shaky as the domestic.

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Except they make more money from their "yesteryear" movies then they make releasing something tomorrow. The last number I saw for licensing fees gleaned by studios from "networks" was approx $16B. Over $6B more then the total USA BO revenue which studios have to split with theaters. They don't split their licensing fees with anyone for money that matters. Pennies are given away in the process, not dollars. Another huge market is the over seas licensing for television deals - long after the movie has left the theaters and even the home video market.

But it still doesn't come all at once, and it goes on the books as "expected revenue." Just like most other companies that have a steady stream of income from their past projects. But they still have expenses that can only be addressed by next weekend's box office, and that's where the nail biting comes in.

Like I said, if opening weekend box office wasn't a big deal, they would have done away with initial theatrical runs years ago.

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I thought we were discussing major studio releases - not the studios acting as a distributor for an indie production.

I wasn't talking about indie, either. Plenty of big films have a myriad of production companies attached in addition to the studio itself. Watch the opening credits of the next blockbuster (or any modern film, really.) It probably has two or more (more likely more) companies in addition to the studio. And if that big film bombs, who do you think feels the pain first?
post #82 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Sure, but those are just as shaky as the domestic.

Not this summer. The INT BO blew away the USA BO. Getting set to break a new record for BO revenue.

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But it still doesn't come all at once, and it goes on the books as "expected revenue." Just like most other companies that have a steady stream of income from their past projects. But they still have expenses that can only be addressed by next weekend's box office, and that's where the nail biting comes in.

AFAIK, most productions are funded. They are using bridge loans with balloon payments. They are not depending on next week's BO take to make payroll. The nail biting is more from how the media accepts the movie then the actual BO take - IMO of course.

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Like I said, if opening weekend box office wasn't a big deal, they would have done away with initial theatrical runs years ago.

In many instances they have - the Made For Video home video release

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I wasn't talking about indie, either. Plenty of big films have a myriad of production companies attached in addition to the studio itself. Watch the opening credits of the next blockbuster (or any modern film, really.) It probably has two or more (more likely more) companies in addition to the studio. And if that big film bombs, who do you think feels the pain first?

LOL - the guy with the smallest slice of the pie. He runs the risk of not making his money back ever.

A movie makes money for a studio for an estimated time period of about 10 years. Hollywood studios are not "cash and carry" type businesses. They are in it for the long haul. Plus they are very instrumental in TV series productions - another very profitable segment of their business.
post #83 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Not this summer. The INT BO blew away the USA BO. Getting set to break a new record for BO revenue.

But it's still unpredictable. This year it exceeded expectations. Which still goes back to "nobody knows anything." That includes successes.

No one in Hollywood has yet figured out how to accurately predict how a movie will do. Some are pretty good at guessing, but IMO it's more luck than any actual knowhow.

Same with a lot of investing (read Malcolm Gladwell's article "Blowing Up." It's on the net.) It's all based on what people as a whole will do, and that's nigh on impossible to predict.

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AFAIK, most productions are funded. They are using bridge loans with balloon payments. They are not depending on next week's BO take to make payroll. The nail biting is more from how the media accepts the movie then the actual BO take - IMO of course.

They are funded. But remember this discussion started with Brian Conrad (or someone before him) mentioning that studios have shareholders to keep happy. Box office is a key part of how well a studio does on the stock ticker (which often is fueled on how well the current movie in release is doing.)

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In many instances they have - the Made For Video home video release

Oh, I agree, but look which movies go there. Usually low budget horror, third or later sequels, and other of that ilk. Harry Potter ain't going straight to DVD (at least right now, anyway.)

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A movie makes money for a studio for an estimated time period of about 10 years. Hollywood studios are not "cash and carry" type businesses. They are in it for the long haul. Plus they are very instrumental in TV series productions - another very profitable segment of their business.

I fully agree that they're in it for the long haul, but they still bet quite a bit on the short term and make a HUGJ deal out of next week's box office. If anything the hype of the short term helps the long term anyway.
post #84 of 206
Here's a good one... Renny Harlin claims that he begged to be released from making legendary flop 'Cutthroat Island':

http://www.slashfilm.com/trivia-renn...throat-island/
post #85 of 206
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Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

But it's still unpredictable. This year it exceeded expectations. Which still goes back to "nobody knows anything." That includes successes.

It's becommng more predictable as emerging markets mature like China, Russia and others

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No one in Hollywood has yet figured out how to accurately predict how a movie will do. Some are pretty good at guessing, but IMO it's more luck than any actual knowhow.

Oh - I think they have a decent handle on what is going to be a success (of course they don't know how big a success it will be), what is going to be average and what isn't going to do well. You can easily see this based on their media marketing campaigns for movies. It shows their level of confidence. Of course they aren't 100% accurate (READ: Cowboys & Aliens)

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Same with a lot of investing (read Malcolm Gladwell's article "Blowing Up." It's on the net.) It's all based on what people as a whole will do, and that's nigh on impossible to predict.

Did anyone doubt that Transformers 3 was going to do as well as it did? Or the latest Pirates OTC installment?

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They are funded. But remember this discussion started with Brian Conrad (or someone before him) mentioning that studios have shareholders to keep happy. Box office is a key part of how well a studio does on the stock ticker (which often is fueled on how well the current movie in release is doing.)

The difference between percieved and actual. A studio's stock is not going to skyrocket nor plummet based on a few weeks of any one movie's BO performance. Even some of the bombs haven't affected a studio's stock price that much - just ask Disney

Studios are so diverisified when it comes to their earnings - where is their money coming from. Much of it is just media hyperbole.

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Oh, I agree, but look which movies go there. Usually low budget horror, third or later sequels, and other of that ilk. Harry Potter ain't going straight to DVD (at least right now, anyway.)

Movies that go directly to video don't cost $250 million. And they can be very profitable - just ask Disney

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I fully agree that they're in it for the long haul, but they still bet quite a bit on the short term and make a HUGE deal out of next week's box office. If anything the hype of the short term helps the long term anyway.

Well - what do you expect from . . . The Land Of Smoke And Mirrors?
post #86 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

It's becommng more predictable as emerging markets mature like China, Russia and others

It's an expanding market as a whole, yes, because it's a fresh market in general, which generally sees an uptick, but individual movie successes I don't think can be predicted. Even there.

Like I said, I think they can GUESS, but not predict.

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Oh - I think they have a decent handle on what is going to be a success (of course they don't know how big a success it will be),

I think that's the key, though. They base a lot of their expectations on movies being a certain size of success. I've seen studios call movies that made money a "failure" because it didn't make ENOUGH money. I'll try to find an example.


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what is going to be average and what isn't going to do well. You can easily see this based on their media marketing campaigns for movies. It shows their level of confidence. Of course they aren't 100% accurate (READ: Cowboys & Aliens

Well, yeah, if the movie they created but haven't released yet hasn't lived up to their expectations, then they're not going to put much effort into the marketing.

But there has been plenty of examples (like Cowboys and Aliens) where they did have high confidence and it ended up falling below expectations.

I just don't think anyone has any concrete idea whether a movie will perform to expectations. I think it's all based on hunches, and those with good hunches have kept their jobs. But I don't think anyone in Hollywood can articulate what movie will be a success.

They just go by tried and true methods that worked in the past. Established properties, bestselling novels, movie franchises, remakes... they can point to earlier successes as reasons to do these films.

And if the film bombs, they can say, "Hey, I was doing all the right things. I did what anyone else in Hollywood would have done. It was the audience that didn't take to it."

That's today's Hollywood, anyway.

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Did anyone doubt that Transformers 3 was going to do as well as it did? Or the latest Pirates OTC installment?

Again, though, they played it pretty safe. Established movie franchises based on already existing popularity (a toy line and an amusement park ride) that paid off.

But I think it wasn't based on concrete surefire this will make money ideas, just a general hunch (a good one, it turned out) that sticking with the status quo will pay off. It's not any business acumen, it's just feeling good about going through with it and ultimately hoping for the best.

My opinion, of course, but I think it falls in line with what a lot say about this type of business (like William Goldman.)

I'll grant you that studios have tried to get SAFER in the investments and movies they make. But I think it's still such a volatile venture that no one, not you, not me, not anyone, can predict how any given movie will open. Or how well it will do in the long run. We just have our guts.

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Movies that go directly to video don't cost $250 million. And they can be very profitable - just ask Disney

But they can also be duds there, too.

And again, Disney plays it safe with their established properties. They're also known for keeping all their ducks in a row before proceeding. And most studios don't have their child fanbase that can usually (usually) be counted on to watch anything. But they can bomb, too (Black Cauldron, Haunted Mansion, etc.)
post #87 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

IMO - this is what leads to a successful movie that is based on a successful novel - . releasing it shortly after the book is published. "Strike while the iron is hot" would be the applicable expression.

Dont tell that to Peter Jackson.
post #88 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

Dont tell that to Peter Jackson.

LOL - cherry picking are we?
post #89 of 206
Well a book can be hot despite being old. But for most books they should be made a movie sooner rather then later. Because they arnt exactly LOTR quality.
post #90 of 206
I've been in the entertainment industry all my life. First with music and then with video games, the latter with some associations with folks in the movie industry.

Entertainment executives do know that it is a crap shoot. What they try to do is lessen the crap shoot effect with timing and marketing. But audiences can be fickle. You can have a product that tests well but fails at the box office.

These days audiences, as they did during the Great Depression, are trying to escape the reality around them by going to the multiplexes even if the films have received poor reviews. And some movie execs will realize that and not think they can keep dishing out drivel and still get audiences.
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